Even though half a day’s time seemed really short, it felt endless for the mercenaries as they anxiously stood around and curiously scanned the surroundings for any changes . The more one is denied of something, the more one desires it . This was a human characteristic which everyone was showing right now . Some of the mercenaries even secretly planned to take a peek at what exactly was happening on the other side . If Rhode caught them peeking, they were prepared to back themselves up with a logical reason . They would say that they were worried that Rhode had gotten into some trouble because of the loud rumblings they heard before . Although there were many mercenaries with such intentions, none of them took actions . The reason was very simple . Rhode’s reputation and deterrence within these people were too powerful and most importantly — Marlene was looking over everyone .
Maybe Rhode’s intangible deterrence wasn’t enough to prevent everyone from peeking, however, the stares of a powerful Mage was enough to halt them in their tracks . Furthermore, Marlene’s deterrence wasn’t lacking from Rhode’s . After all, in any other days, this young lady had strong dignity and once she flared up, any ordinary mercenaries wouldn’t even dare to lift their heads to face her . It could also be said that within all the mercenaries, Rhode and Marlene played the role of strict parents, whereas, Anne and Lize played the role of villains .
As they were anxiously waiting, the long-awaited promised timing finally arrived .
“Alright! Everyone, let’s go! We shall see what surprise Sir is gonna give us!”
After Marlene retracted her gazes, Joey immediately jumped up and beckoned for the mercenaries . The anxious mercenaries cheered and followed Joey towards the direction of the Fortress .
“Hahaha, I’m the fastest!”
As a Thief with nimble stature and speed, Joey was the first to overcome the steep slope . He turned around and showed off towards the mercenaries struggling to chase him .
“I’d like to see what Sir had prepared for us…”
And Joey’s words ended here .
He stared blankly while maintaining his celebrating posture . As if struck by a petrifaction spell, his eyes widened to sizes of copper bells . At this moment, Joey’s jaw subconsciously dropped itself . His breathing began to hasten and even became a little flustered!
“Why did you run so fast for, kid? Can’t wait to die?”
And at this moment, the mercenaries finally caught up with him . Another Thief class mercenary who was close friends with Joey threw a playful punch . However, facing the fist of his peer, Joey didn’t react at all . He was like a puppet with no will on his own as he continued to stare blankly towards the scenery before his eyes .
“What’s wrong? Are you alright?”
The other mercenaries sensed Joey’s odd behaviors . Astonished by his reaction, the mercenaries turned their attention towards the direction of Joey’s gaze…
“Oh my god!”
A mercenary screamed in shock and tumbled to the ground by his unsupportive softened legs . Whereas for the other mercenaries, they seemed to fall under the same petrifaction spell as they stood stiffly on their ground . They stared with pale expressions at this scene which they had never imagined before .
Under the bright, afternoon sun, a majestically huge Fortress presented itself in grand fashion . Pitch-black, 10 meters tall thick walls twisted and turned . Looking from afar, it seemed that they had blended with the steep mountain as one . On the outer side, there’s a wide moat river flowing while letting out sounds of a refreshing water stream . The conical towers stood within the walls and pierced through the skies like a rising spear while projecting a slim, long shadow . One could even see a great abundance of buildings behind the walls .
At this moment, everyone was baffled and their minds couldn’t register what their eyes had witnessed . Oh lord! What is this thing? A Fortress? Why would there be such a gigantic Fortress here? They swore to god that this had never ever seen a Fortress here! That is absolutely true!
“I must’ve slept too much . This is an illusion, everything definitely is an illusion…”
One of the mercenaries lowered his head in panic before slapping himself a couple of times . But, even though his cheeks were already swollen, there’s still no signs of him ‘waking up’ .
“WhWhWhat exactly is going on! You guys saw it too right? Hey! You guys knew there wasn’t such a thing here before right? Right?!”
One of them even grabbed his companion’s arm and tugged as hard as he could . That companion of his didn’t respond as he stood there mindlessly like an idiot . Only after a few seconds, he dumbfoundedly turned around to look at his companion before turning back again to face the magnificent Fortress .
On the other side, the group led by the Mage Maiden were kneeling on their feet and saying their prayers . Almost everyone right now was suspecting there was something wrong with their memories . How could such a huge Fortress appear here? Could it be our hallucinations?
It’s no wonder that these mercenaries were doubting their own eyes . After all, no matter what, it was impossible for them to not notice such a huge Fortress from a logical perspective . Furthermore, to build such a Fortress would require at least two to three years . Yet, this Fortress appeared itself within a span of half a day?
Is this logical?
Of course, it wasn’t logical . So, did that mean that they were wrong? Or was it the world that was having problems?
At this moment, there was utter chaos in the mercenaries’ heads . They didn’t even know what kind of expressions and movements they should reveal to express their emotions . Because right now, they couldn’t even figure out what reactions they should even have!
On the other hand, Lize was equally bewildered . However, as she was mentally prepared for a huge shock from Rhode, she was able to quickly recover her usual calmness . Surprisingly, even Marlene managed to keep her cool even though there was a trace of oddness that flashed in her eyes after she witnessed the Fortress .
“It really turned out this way…”
The maiden mumbled to herself . As the others were immersed in shock, no one heard Marlene’s words . After Marlene finished her sentence, she observed the surroundings before letting out a cough to drag everyone back to reality .
“Alright, how much longer are all of you going to stand here? Mr Rhode is still waiting for us inside . ”
Hearing this remark from Marlene, the mercenaries snapped out of their reveries . They shook their heads and pulled themselves to their feet before shifting their respectful gazes towards Marlene — A Mage indeed is a Mage who indeed is experienced and knowledgeable . Even such an astonishing scene wasn’t able to sway this young lady!
“Mis-Miss Marlene . ”
At this moment, Joey put on a brave face and approached Marlene . He softly asked .
“We-We aren’t dreaming, right? That really is a Fortress over there? And not anything else…”
“That indeed is a Fortress . ”
Marlene slightly nodded and lifted her chin .
“Didn’t Mr Rhode say that he will be giving all of you a surprise? So, what do you think of this gift?”
“This… is amazing!!”
Joey finally returned to his senses and shrieked in excitement . He quickly turned around and beckoned to everyone .
“Let’s go check it out, brothers!”
The mercenaries instantly agreed and began to dart towards the Fortress impatiently . Observing their backs, Marlene displayed a bitter smile and shook her head helplessly . Then, she shifted her gaze onto Lize’s eyes .
“What’s wrong, Lize? Is there a problem?”
“Marlene, you’re really calm… Even I was so shocked . ”
“Ah, you’re talking about this?”
Marlene chuckled in a ladylike manner upon hearing Lize’s laments .
“No matter what, I’m a Mage that had been through the education structure in a Magic School . Lize, Mages are beings who can accomplish many incredible things . I have once seen a powerful Mage who did similar things like this before . From the start I was really baffled, but now… I’m kind of used to it . ”
Marlene flashed a smile to Lize .
“You should also bring the others to look around . I will catch up soon . ”
“Alright, Marlene . ”
It was evident that Lize was impatiently waiting to explore all of this Fortress . So, after their conversation, Lize revealed a trace of anticipation and hurriedly scuttled towards the Fortress . Right after Marlene had confirmed Lize’s departure, the maiden then took in a deep breath . She stretched her arms frontwards and her arms that were hidden under the sleeves peeked out . At this moment, the maiden was clenching her fists tightly . Her long nails slightly pierced through her fair and delicate palms and fresh blood was dripping willfully .
Marlene took in a few deep breaths and her arms were slightly shivering . After a few moments, she struggled to release her fingers . The maiden carefully reached out into the fold on her clothes for a handkerchief to wipe off the bloodstains on her palms . After struggling for a few moments, she finally wiped them off .
“Hu… Although I was already expecting this, I didn’t expect it to have such a magnificent sight…”
Marlene gasped in admiration before quickening her pace towards the Fortress .
When Marlene arrived at the large doors on the Fortress, the mercenaries were already lined in one row and facing Rhode with utmost respect and worship . Noticing Marlene’s arrival, Rhode nodded in acknowledgment .
“Welcome to our Fortress… Miss Marlene . ”
Rhode gave a gesture of invitation towards Marlene before he squinted his eyes and scanned the surroundings .
“So… she’s the final one… Eh? Why am I missing one?”